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Why Do I Read Bad ‘Christian’ Novels?

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People who know me have asked me why I’m spending so much time reading the Bible-based novels of “Abner Doubleday” when I could do something more profitable, like counting chunks of gravel in the driveway.

Well, I do it because I think it’s important.

Over the past hundred years or so, Christians have pretty much surrendered all the arts to the unbelievers. This is ground that ought to be won back for Christ’s Kingdom. And what I have to say about novels, and fantasy novels in particular, goes for movies and TV shows, too.

The problem is that Christian readers, writers, and publishers too often settle for creating stories that merely imitate the secular product–with a bit of prayer or Bible-reading slapped on like decals. They not only imitate the secular product: they imitate it poorly. More often than not, “Christian” entertainment products are cheap knock-offs of the secular originals.

This ought not to be; and writers and editors and publishers who settle for it ought to be held accountable. There is no excuse for making “Christian” synonymous with “second-rate.”

For one thing, it puts off Christians who want to read something, for a change, that’s not a celebration of sin. For another, it fails to win over non-Christian readers: all they know is, they’re reading a novel that isn’t very good.

To market a book as “Christian,” and expect the label to cover a multitude of literary sins, is not unlike offering God, as a sacrifice, sick, aged, or deformed animals out of the flock. God takes strong exception to that! (See Malachi 1: 7-12) “Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible” (v. 7).

To create an inferior product and then try to fob it off as “Christian,” meaning it doesn’t have to measure up to a novel by an unbeliever, strikes me as practically a sin, if it is done knowingly.

And so, yeah–novels that treat the Bible as a comic book without pictures, and wallow in stupid dialogue and non-stop anachronisms, I do not think are fitting to be served up on the table of the Lord.



 

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